ACLS

THE EARLY PHOENIX – Sept 18, 2023

Table of Contents

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TOP HEADLINES:

  • Israel: Saudi Talks Stall, Erdogan Meeting, Gaza Tensions
  • Northeast Africa Unrest: Sudan War, Egypt’s Shifts, Libya Crisis
  • Iran’s Converging Crises: Foreign Relations, Dissent, Security
  • Syria’s Flashpoint: Global Intervention, Protests, and Crisis
  • Iraq’s Pivotal Shifts: Oil, Security, and Diplomacy Reshape Landscape
  • Gulf Tensions Spike: Maritime, Energy, Diplomatic Frictions
  • Lebanon’s Crisis: IMF Warnings, Fund Drain, Saudi Talks
  • Erdogan’s Diplomatic Juggle: Turkiye’s Multi-Front Relations Shift

ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Complex Diplomatic Moves Shape Israel-MENA Relations: Talks with Saudi, Erdogan, African Leaders, and Rising Tensions in Palestine (Arabi 21, Times of Israel, Nabd, New Arab, Jordan News, i24). The arrest of individuals advocating Israeli-Saudi normalization casts doubt on ongoing talks between the nations. Amid this, Netanyahu plans unscheduled talks with Erdogan and seeks African allies after setbacks in U.S. diplomacy. Palestine enhances ties with Colombia as Saudi Arabia places Israeli talks on hold over Palestinian issues. Rising tensions prompted an Israeli drone strike in Gaza and renewed calls for Intifada from Hamas and PFLP.

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EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Unrest and Uncertainty in Northeast Africa: Sudan Conflict, Egypt’s Political and Economic Shifts, and Libya’s Humanitarian Crisis (Al Jazeera, New Arab, Al Sharq Al Awsat, Head Topics, Al Naharar, RT Arabic). As Sudan faces a protracted conflict between the army and Rapid Support Forces, its de facto leader, Al-Burhan, seeks diplomatic solutions in Uganda. In Egypt, the IMF’s economic review is delayed to 2024, fueling uncertainty alongside speculations about early presidential elections. A significant narcotics seizure intensifies Egypt’s ongoing battle against illegal activities. Meanwhile, the UN struggles to gauge the humanitarian impact of collapsed dams and bridges in Libya.

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IRAN

  1. Iran at a Crossroads: Foreign Relations, Internal Dissent, and Security Concerns Converge (North Press, Al Jazeera, Press Bee, The Guardian, Iran International, Iran International, Iran InternationalAxios, Eurasia Review, Iran International, Times of Israel, Asharq Al-Awsat). Iran engages in multi-party talks with Damascus, Ankara, and Moscow focused on Turkey’s withdrawal from Syria and U.S. activities along the Syrian-Iraqi border. On the international stage, the UK sanctions Iran over hijab law enforcement, and Iran transfers frozen assets to Qatar in a prisoner exchange deal. Domestically, tension grips the country during Mahsa Amini’s death anniversary, leading to protests and increased security measures. Underground groups aim for regime change, and Iran continues legal action against South Korea despite fund transfers. Tehran expels UN inspectors, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard mobilizes forces on the Iraq-Kurdistan border.

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SYRIA

  1. Tensions Boil Over in Syria: Global Powers Intervene Amid Protests, Militarization, and Economic Strain (Enab Baladi, Syrian Observer, Npa Syria, Enab Baladi, Enab Baladi, Zamanalwsl, Enab BaladiSyria TV, Syriahr, Nba Syria, Nba Syria, Jesr Press, Shaam, Al-Jazeera, Syria TV, Syria TV, Shaam). Cyprus and other European nations voice concerns over Syria’s ‘unsafe’ designation, and humanitarian aid bypasses Russia’s veto. Israel’s Defense Minister hints at airstrikes, while Iran suggests Turkiye withdraw its forces if Syrian border security is assured. In the internal sphere, Suwayda witnessed its largest anti-Assad protests, attracting international support from the US, France, Britain, and Germany. Assad plans a visit to China for financial aid amid ongoing economic difficulties. Meanwhile, Iranian military activity near the Syrian-Iraqi border and Turkish air strikes against SDF leadership further complicate the situation.

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TURKIYE

  1. Erdogan’s Diplomatic Dance: Turkiye’s Shifting Relations on Multiple Fronts (Al Sharq Al Awsat, Anadolu Agency, TRT Arabi, Hurriyet Daily News, TRT World). President Erdogan signals a distancing from the EU following a European Parliament report opposing Turkiye’s accession while heading to New York for UN meetings. Turkiye’s exports to Saudi Arabia quadruple to $1.6 billion amid diplomatic efforts. Concurrently, discussions are underway with Russia, China, and South Korea for a new nuclear plant in Turkiye. The country also rejects U.S. accusations of child recruitment, reciprocating with similar allegations against the U.S. Despite this, U.S. officials remain optimistic about expanding trade and strategic partnerships with Turkiye.

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LEBANON

  1. Lebanon’s Crisis Multiplies: IMF Funds Deplete Amid Reform Inaction, Saudi Talks on Stability (Al Sharq Al Awsat, Al Sharq Al Awsat, Al Nahar). The IMF criticizes Lebanon for failing to implement crucial economic reforms, exacerbating the financial crisis as IMF funds run out. Meanwhile, Saudi Ambassador Al-Bukhari and Lebanese official Mohamed Choucair focus on restoring normal relations to stabilize the country.

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THE GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. Gulf Tensions Escalate: Maritime Disputes, Energy Rights, and Diplomatic Standoffs Unveiled (Shafaq, Al Arabiya, Al Khaleej Online, Al Bawabh News). Kuwait protests an Iraqi Federal Supreme Court ruling over the Khor Abdullah maritime navigation agreement. At the same time, Iran reinforces its claim to the disputed Arash gas field with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Concurrently, Saudi Arabia suspends its normalization talks with Israel due to its policies towards Palestinians. Additionally, Kuwait calls for Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, underlining the need for regional stability.
  2. U.S. National Security Advisor highlights the significance of the Houthi delegation’s visit to Riyadh for peace talks. Yemen’s Crisis Deepens: Hunger, Politics, and Extreme Weather Unfold as Peace Talks Emerge” (Al Arabiya, Sputnik Arabic, Maan News, Al Masdar Online). As Yemen faces a humanitarian crisis with 4.4 million people at risk of hunger due to aid cuts, the Yemeni parliament is pushing for a three-reference solution to the ongoing conflict. This includes the Gulf Initiative, Dialogue Conference, and Security Council Resolutions. Meanwhile, extreme weather events have caused further hardship, with thunderbolts and flash floods claiming lives in western Yemen. Amidst these challenges, the U.S. has welcomed a Houthi delegation in Saudi Arabia for peace talks, signaling a potential shift towards resolving the conflict.

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IRAQ

  1. Major Moves in Iraq: Oil Pipeline Resumption, Security Operations, and Regional Diplomacy Shape a Volatile Landscape (Al Araby TV, Al Ghad, Sputnik Arabic, Al-Araby, Press Bee, Al Arabiya). Turkey is set to resume its oil pipeline operations with Iraq following a completed inspection, signifying a boost in regional energy cooperation. In parallel security developments, Turkish drones struck targets in northern Iraq, killing three members of the Sinjar Resistance Units, while Iraqi forces regained control over key border points with Iran. On the domestic front, Iraqi intelligence successfully dismantled a terrorist network planning to execute suicide bombings in Baghdad. A conference in Doha addressed Iraq’s looming water crisis, amplified by climate change and upstream policies. Lastly, the transfer of Iranian opposition camps deeper into Iraqi territory has been completed, with border forces now in place.

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For Inquiries, please contact: rkisar@americancenter.org

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